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Ford’s Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid granted carpool-lane access

Ford Motor Co. had some good news for California drivers Thursday: Its Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid had been approved for use in the state’s carpool lanes.

The Fusion plug-in is the third Ford vehicle currently sold that is eligible for the much-coveted HOV sticker, which allows owners to use their cars in the carpool lanes with only a single passenger.

Ford’s all-electric Focus EV and it C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid are also eligible for the stickers.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker said it’s one of only two companies offering three vehicles that are HOV eligible. Toyota’s also a trio that is welcome to use carpool lanes: the Prius Plug-in, RAV4 EV and Scion iQ EV.

The Energi is the plug-in version of Ford’s recently redesigned Fusion sedan. Its $39,495 starting price is a hefty increase from the base gas model’s $22,495 window sticker. To offset the cost, Ford points out that the plug-in version is eligible for a $1,500 state tax rebate and as much as a $3,750 federal tax credit.

The Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which Ford pairs with an electric motor for a total of 188 horsepower. Power is fed to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
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